Help Getting 11 Year Old to Be More Independent

Updated on February 27, 2008
J.A. asks from Saint Paul, MN
5 answers

My 11 year old with high functioning autism is an only child. I have always been his only playmate (since my divorce). I set up play dates as I can, but for the most part, every waking moment I need to entertain him. I am moving, starting my own business, and taking classes. When I have my son, I need at least some time to clean, cook, and relax. But, how can I do this when he's always saying he's bored or asking me to play with him. I try and tell him I'll play for a certain amount of time then he has to play alone for about an equal amount of time (usually 15 - 30 min).

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answers from Milwaukee on


Check out the local Family Resource Center in your aream for programs/ideas.

Have you considered having your son join the local Y? I am not sure wehre you are but we have an 11 year old who probably would be willing to meet him at the local Y to "hang out."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

Hey J.,
My name is A. and I have a 2 1/2 year old son who hasnt been around children his age very much. he is at home all day with his dad and home all night with me. My son is very clingy and likes me to play with him all the time. But between keeping up with my homework and my house chores it is hard. I am always on the run. i am gone for about 12 hours a day. I tried something new. We were against getting a pet but we ended up getting him a dog and he is more independent because he has his chores to do now. Like feeding him and playing with him. My son and his dog Tucker sit and even watch movies together. I dont know how hard it is with a child with autism but I used to work in a facility with autistic children and adults and we would entertain them through animals. For some reason animals seem to help a child and even adults learn more about independency. Through what I have seen. Because they have somethign to keep their attention. Feel free to contact me anytime you like. Hope some of the advise is helpful.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

Hi Jaqueline,

I have a high functioning son with autism as well. The fact that your son wants to play is so great, but I can imagine that it can be draining as well. My son has sibs to play with. Is your son interested in theater or movies or music? My guy really likes to write stories and plays and perform them. Could you ask him to create a story that he could read to you? Invent a new game using cards? Come up with a new song that you could sing together? That way he can spend some time creating while you clean. My son also loves the Lego crazy action contraption set from Klutz. He puts together the crazy contraptions, then he asks me to bring the camera and film him demonstrating his contraptions. His goal is to see them up on youtube. Good luck. Having a special needs kiddo can be so challenging and so rewarding at the same time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

Hi J., I have a 13 year old brother who is also high functioning. He became the only child in the house when he was 10 and my mother experienced the same thing. We found that arts and crafts in the form of figurines for games that can be painted are a huge time consumer. He paints "Warhammer" figurines. It is something that not only lets him be creative, but lets him have an ongoing project he can display. He also enrolled in karate and my mom says it exhausts him. While in class she can read or do work, so it works out for both of them.
Hope this helps and good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Dear J.: I dont have children with autism, nor adhd, but i do have 3 boys, i have found that a child who says they are bored,are saying i dont want to entertain myself and its your duty to make me happy, yes as a parent this is true to some degree, but i have told my child that boredom comes from within, and only he can change how he feels inside, no amount of fun or games can take that away, and that only he can control boredom, cause like most kids there is plenty to do, they just dont want to do it. and with a child with special needs, im not sure if this works, but logic might always work, or at least be understood, so not sure if it helps, but hope you have a good day and hope all goes well, D. s

1 mom found this helpful

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